No More Ad-Skipping On ITV: BT TV’s New Recording Rules

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In a recent update that may disappoint many, BT TV has announced that from Monday, November 6, customers using its service will no longer be able to fast-forward through advertising breaks on ITV’s channels while in Internet Mode – even when those programmes are recorded.

This change aligns with the functionality of ITV’s streaming app, ITVX, but it undeniably downgrades the user experience for BT TV customers who have been accustomed to skipping adverts effortlessly on their recordings.

The BT TV boxes in question, specifically the BT TV 4K Pro Box and the Mini Box, offer an Internet Mode feature, allowing users to stream Freeview channels directly from the internet, an option that circumvents the need for a traditional aerial.

This feature was introduced in 2022 as a modern solution for those with bad aerial reception or those who simply preferred a streamlined, broadband-based solution for their television viewing.

BT TV Internet Mode official jpg
BT TV’s current ‘Internet Mode’

Freeview channels streaming via broadband is becoming a staple feature of pay-TV subscriptions – Sky is offering the same thing with its Sky Stream box (and Sky Glass TV), and Virgin Media offers Freeview-via-broadband on its Stream box as well.

However, BT TV’s boxes have a unique feature that’s missing from all the other streaming boxes – recording. 

While Sky Glass / Stream can record some content to the cloud, and stream other content on-demand – BT TV’s boxes can record Freeview channels directly to the box’s hard drive – even when they’re streamed via broadband.

BT TV Boxes
BT TV’s Boxes

And of course, that also means viewers can then fast forward the adverts – something they cannot do on Virgin Media or Sky (though Sky offers a paid ad-skipping add-on).

But now – things are changing for BT’s customers on ITV.

No More Ad Skipping On ITV

Starting November 6, how BT TV customers (who may soon become EE TV customers) use the service to watch ITV channels is changing.

According to the information provided by BT, the update is aimed at “preventing advertising breaks being skipped using pause and fast forward options when watching live streaming or recordings.”

You’ll still be able to pause, fast forward and rewind ITV shows, but you won’t be able to fast forward through the adverts.

ITV ad skipping changes BT TV
Photo: BT


The main point of this change is, of course, to stop viewers from skipping past adverts when they’re watching live shows or recorded programmes using the Internet Mode on BT TV.

This change makes BT TV’s Internet Mode work more like ITV’s own streaming app, ITVX.

ITVX is ITV’s streaming app that replaced ITV Hub, and lets you watch their shows via broadband (both on-demand and live).

In the standard version of ITVX, which is free, you can’t fast-forward through adverts. If you don’t want to see the ads, you have to pay £5.99/month for ITVX Premium, the subscription version of the app (which also adds premium content from BritBox and Studio Canal).

Watching ITVX Premium on TV

Now, BT TV is making its Internet Mode work in a similar way, at least when you’re watching ITV channels.

This is quite a big change because before, BT TV customers could easily skip past adverts on recorded programmes, something many people like to do.

Now, it will work like ITVX where you have to watch the adverts unless you pay for the ad-free version.

It’s unclear at the moment whether those who are subscribed to ITVX Premium will continue to see adverts on the BT TV recordings – it’s possible they may have to use the ITVX App in order to skip the adverts.

In any case, this change, possibly brought on by ITV, could also be a way to encourage more people to subscribe to ITVX Premium if they want to avoid watching adverts.

It’s a way for ITV to make more money from subscriptions, or from the adverts which help sustain the free content.

ITVX Categories TV mockup

However, this new rule may not sit well with some viewers who liked the way things were before.

Those who continue to watch ITV via an aerial on BT TV, will be able to continue recording and fast-forwarding adverts as before – but some people can’t use an aerial, as reception in their area is bad – which was the whole point of the Internet Mode.

Also, for now, other Freeview channels on BT TV’s Internet Mode will continue to function as before – but others may follow ITV’s lead in the future.

No Ad-Skipping On Freeview: A Hint Of Things To Come?

With the forthcoming launch of Freely in 2024, a transition towards more internet-based TV is on the horizon.

Freely, touted as the streaming successor to Freeview and Freesat, aims to deliver live TV over broadband, merging traditional and modern viewing experiences.

New Freeview Play 2022 mockup
Freeview Play

The new restriction on ad-skipping on BT TV and ITV might hint at how advertising could be handled on Freely.

If direct recording isn’t featured, and ad-skipping is disabled, viewers might have to adapt to a more structured, less flexible viewing experience.

As broadcasters explore monetisation avenues, the control over ad-skipping seems to be tightening.

The convenience of ad-skipping and recording has always been a valued feature for many viewers (though, again, let’s not forget adverts are how many of these channels can sustain themselves).

If Freely adopts a similar approach to BT TV and ITV, the essence of traditional TV viewing could further dilute, making the streaming service less attractive to those who prefer more hands-on control over their viewing experience

15 thoughts on “No More Ad-Skipping On ITV: BT TV’s New Recording Rules”

  1. I phoned BT and kicked off saying I want to cancel even though I’m in contract saying I didn’t sign up got this and not paying to cancel, they then arranged for an aerial to be installed free of charge.

  2. I have a trusty Toshiba dvd/hard disc recorder from 2008, still going strong. I can record catch-up from my Manhattan Freeview recorder using this, and therefore skip the ads. The Manhattan box records programmes and series from live TV with one click, so don’t have to put up with ads at all!

  3. TV ads these days are so unbearable, they are full of woke nonsense and completely alienate their audience. They add 20 minutes an hour to the programme and ruin the continuity of the show you are watching.

    Skipping over them is essential to me.

    • If that’s the way they want to play it, fine. All the more reason not to go online. You can be sure that very soon they will ditch free to air via an aerial, for universal online viewing and a far higher energy usage because of all the data centres needed for every individual “account” IP Address all content and viewership individually trackable. And if you don’t pay, unlike via an aerial, you get cut off.
      If this is their game, I’m not playing. Hang on to your DVDs, videos, LPs, CDs, Tapes, books. Don’t let the b*****ds control you. THIS is precisely what “you’ll own nothing” means, a life on subscription where the corporates get your money for a censored, ad-filled stream of data. Welcome to the NWO. Im not playing, or paying.

      • I agree with what you say. But haven’t Sky, Virgin and BT been doing that ever since they introduced recording? You can’t watch without them having all your details and taking your money. You can’t even watch your recordings without having a valid viewing card or subscription, and they can cut off those services when you stop paying.

  4. If I was a subscriber to BT TV (which I’m not, I left it 2 years ago), this would be a deal breaker for me. I’d be on the phone, telling them that it completely changes the deal between us and the contract is null and void, and I want to cancel. This is proof indeed that the TV companies are pressuring (and paying) the broadcasters to stop supplying ad-skipping.

  5. “let’s not forget adverts are how many of these channels can sustain themselves”
    That statement only works if the viewer is interested in what is being advertised and even then if the advert has been repeated soooo many times it becomes meaningless anyway.
    Perhaps eventually there will be a way for subscribers to input their advert preferences and only show relevant adverts, which would be great from my point of view because I never buy anything anyway.


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